NFC
AFC
30 - 21 Final
  for this game

Fitzgerald stars again as NFC tops AFC

Feb 9, 2009 - 1:11 AM HONOLULU (Ticker) -- Larry Fitzgerald got his bowl victory one week too late.

Fitzgerald caught a pair of touchdown passes to lead the NFC to a 30-21 victory over the AFC in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

The unstoppable force in the Arizona Cardinals' stunning run to the Super Bowl, Fitzgerald capped off the best postseason in league history with five receptions for 81 yards, including scoring passes of 46 and 2 yards.

The fifth-year wideout had seven catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns in Arizona's 27-23 loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday in Super Bowl XLIII.

Fitzgerald was named Pro Bowl MVP to cap a brilliant postseason. In his last five games, Fitzgerald torched opposing defenses for 37 receptions and nine touchdown catches.

With the NFC at the 2-yard line and just under 4 1/2 minutes to play, Fitzgerald was sent back into the game - and everywhere knew where the ball was going.

NFC quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants lobbed a pass into the left corner of the end zone to the 6-3 Fitzgerald, who easily outjumped Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan for the touchdown and a 24-21 lead with 4:03 to play.

It was just the second Pro Bowl this decade with a combined point total not to surpass 51 and ended a 30-year run at Aloha Stadium. Next year's Pro Bowl will be played in Miami next year on the weekend before the Super Bowl.

While the NFL has not ruled out a return to Hawaii, it seems an unlikely possibility if playing the week before the Super Bowl is a hit.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson added a 10-yard scoring run and 44-year-old John Carney of the Giants, the oldest player to ever appear in a Pro Bowl, kicked three field goals for the NFC.

The AFC had used a bit of trickery to move ahead midway through the final quarter.

Facing 1st-and-goal at the 5-yard line, the AFC called a fumblerooski, with Baltimore Ravens running back Le'Ron McClain skirting around left end for a 21-17 lead with 6:59 to play.

Tight ends Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs and Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans caught scoring passes for the AFC.

Gonzalez, making his 10th consecutive Pro Bowl appearance, had six receptions for 98 yards. He set career records with 39 receptions for 590 yards and five TDs in the game.

Defense played a big part of the game, particularly on the side of the NFC. Justin Tuck of the Giants had a pair of sacks, the Carolina Panthers' Julius Peppers added a sack and an interception and Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings had a sack and fumble recovery to set up Peterson's touchdown.

The first half loomed as one of the lower scoring in Pro Bowl history - until the final 30 seconds.

Kerry Collins, in relief of starter Peyton Manning, drove the AFC 52 yards in six plays, tossing a 9-yard pass to Daniels for a 14-3 lead with 28 seconds left in the half.

The NFC answered right back, scoring its first touchdown on a 46-yard pass from New Orleans' Drew Brees to Fitzgerald with one second to play, cutting the deficit to 14-10.

Fitzgerald made one of his trademark leaping catches in the end zone. Rookie Clifton Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set up the score with a 45-yard kickoff return. Smith also had a 55-yard return to set up Fitzgerald's go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

The AFC failed to put points on the board despite having a 1st-and-goal at the 3-yard line when Brandon Marshall could not hold onto Peyton Manning's fourth-down pass.

In the first 30 minutes, Manning was 12-of-17 for 151 yards and a touchdown - of 19 yards to Gonzalez - while Brees finished 11-of-19 for 142 yards and a score.






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  • PRO BOWL
    AT HONOLULU HI
    NFL PRO BOWL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NFC 0 10 7 13 30
    AFC 7 7 0 7 21 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AFC - TD, TONY GONZALEZ 19 YD PASS FROM
    PEYTON MANNING (STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
    KICK), 7:16. Drive: 10 plays, 96
    yards in 4:51. Key plays: Manning
    20-yard pass

    Feb 8 7:56 PM


  • PRO BOWL
    AT HONOLULU HI
    NFL PRO BOWL
    FG NFC
    JOHN CARNEY 26 YD
    NFC 30
    AFC 21 0:32 LEFT, 4TH QTR

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    NFC 27
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    TD NFC
    LARRY FITZGERALD 2 YD PASS FROM ELI MANNING
    (JOHN CARNEY KICK)
    NFC 24
    AFC 21 4:03 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    NFC 24, AFC 21  4th - 4:03Feb 8 7:29 PM
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    TD AFC
    LE'RON MCCLAIN 5 YD RUN
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    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AFC - TD, TONY GONZALEZ 19 YD PASS FROM
    PEYTON MANNING (STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
    KICK), 7:16. Drive: 10 plays, 96
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    ADRIAN PETERSON 10 YD RUN
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    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NFC 0 0
    AFC 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: AFC - TD, TONY GONZALEZ 19 YD PASS FROM
    PEYTON MANNING (STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
    KICK), 7:16. Drive: 10 plays, 96
    yards in 4:51. Key plays: Manning
    20-yar

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    NFC 0, AFC 7  1st - 7:44Feb 8 4:56 PM
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